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Intuition vs. Instinct

By Dr. Margaret Paul
July 13, 2020

Discover the big differences between instinct and intuition.

instinct vs. intuition, intuition, spirituality, spiritual connection, trusting yourselfThere is a huge difference between instinct and intuition, and it's important to differentiate between them, especially right now with so much uncertainly on our planet.


Instinct Is About Survival

Instinct comes partly from the amygdala, which is a small gland at the base of the left-brain. Part of the job of the amygdala is as a survival mechanism responsible for initiating the stress response of fight, flight or freeze. The amygdala is the seat of the wounded self - it stores emotional memories that can get triggered in stressful situations. When instinct kicks in, we are not operating from thought, but from survival needs. For example, a newborn infant, as well as all mammals, will instinctively suckle as part of its survival. Instinct is essential for the survival of any species.


Intuition Is About Spiritual Connection

Intuition comes from our feelings – our soul-self source of inner guidance – and from the information that comes through us from our higher self. When you are in your wounded self, you are often operating on instinct and are not able to access your intuition.

The more you heal your false beliefs in your wounded self that can trigger the stress response, and the more you learn to operate from your loving adult, the more you have access to your intuition. This is so important right now because we can’t rely on others to tell us how to keep ourselves safe. We need to learn to rely on our inner and higher knowing. We need to learn to trust ourselves.


We are all capable of intuition.

Some of us are born with a stronger sense of intuition than others, but all of us have the ability to develop it. When I first started to practice Inner Bonding, I wasn't very in touch with my intuition. It had been squashed as I was growing up by my parents and others who not only did not validate my intuitive knowing, but instead criticized it. I learned to disregard this inner knowing.

Within a few years of practicing Inner Bonding, I started to trust my inner and higher knowing. I tested and tested to see if it was accurate, and now I completely trust it. You might want to consciously test your intuition by listening to it sometimes and seeing what happens, and not listening to it at other times and seeing what happens. This is what I did that led me to trust my inner knowing.


How often have you known something but didn’t trust it, and then later wished you had?

I often work with people who had an intuition about someone they were dating, but because they were attracted to the person, they didn’t trust their inner knowing, and later got very hurt by the person’s narcissism. Their wounded self had discounted their intuition.

They seek my help when they are struggling with the pain of an awful breakup, and when I ask if they had any sense that this person wasn’t trustworthy, they invariably say ‘yes.’

When you learn to trust yourself, you will no longer feel the need to give others authority over you. Your intuition is a great gift; I hope you learn to trust it!

Learn to connect with your spiritual Guidance with "Frequency: Your Spiritual Guidance & The Art of Manifestation," A 30-Day at-home Experience with Dr. Margaret Paul.

Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.

Image by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto from Pixabay


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Creating the habit of thinking about love and what is loving to yourself and others will keep you connected with Spirit. When you are with Spirit, you will not be in fear.



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